Guest Blog and Book Giveaway from Melissa Brayden

Heat Block
by Melissa Brayden

Congratulations to Mercedes! She won the drawing for Melissa Brayden’s Heart Block! Woo!

Okay, folks, I sure hope you have recovered from your turkey coma and you’re ready for some fun because we have a fabulous Monday guest blog and book giveaway happening right here at Women and Words. Melissa Brayden’s second novel, Heart Block, was released earlier this month from Bold Strokes Books. Because she really is that cool, she dropped by to say hey, share a little guest blog, and giveaway a free book. What’s not to love there?

If you’d like to enter the drawing (of course you would!), it’s super easy. Just leave a comment in the nifty comment box below. Be sure to leave us your email address in the appropriate email address slot so we can contact you if you win. We’ll do the drawing on Friday, so be sure to tell your friends to come by and enter as well. I’ll notify the winner by email, as well as posting the winner’s name at the top of this blog entry.

Good luck, y’all!

The Soundtrack of My Life

by Melissa Brayden

You guys, I love to dance. Alone in my living room with no one watching, I am quite simply arock star of dancing. I feel you should know this about me. You wouldn’t believe my mad skills and I can tell you that my fictional audience whole-heartedly agrees.But the sad reality is…I have no rhythm. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, and something I just have to face. But boy,am I passionate in my efforts.

This level of enjoyment might be why both of the books I’ve written thus far have featured dancing. Jenna in Waiting in the Wings is an amazing dancer. She’s paid money to do it. (Yes, I was projecting). Sarah, from my new release, Heart Block, is a little more like me. Full of spirit, but lacking any sort of real talent or training. (She gets me).

But with dancing comes music, which seems to be a constant presence in anything and everything I do. My life has a soundtrack and I happen to like it.

When I Christmas shop, I can’t help but notice that the store’s music always seems to coincide with my mood. When I find that perfect gift, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year blasts through the store as I skip down the aisles, swinging my packages to and fro. But when I’m at a Christmas gift loss, unable to find anything to suit my present buying needs, something slow and soulful like What Child Is Thisalways seems to underscore my quest. It has me moving slowly through the store, alone with my very raw, very real feelings.“How does the music know?” I whisper reverently to myself.

I’m also a pretty regular runner, generally four to five times a week. In complete contrast to dancing, I hate running. I like having ran. I hate to run. Make sense to you? Me neither. I’m complicated. And grammatically challenged. But as luck would have it, music gets me through this necessary hardship. Starting with a little Eye of the Tiger gets my blood pumping, gets me thinking that I, too, can be like Rocky. Hell, I am Rocky. A segue into Survivor by Destiny’s Child throws a little sass into the mix and makes me feel like a strong woman who won’t be taken down by anyone, no she won’t! Stronger by Christina Aguilera makes me just want to jump off the treadmill and dance again, but I’m pretty sure Christina would jump out of the iPodandkick my ass so I run on.

Writing is not that different. I was talking to author, Erin Dutton, not too long ago and she said something that had me super intrigued and jealous at the same time. When she writes, she gives each main character their own playlist. It helps to get her head in the right place and sets the mood for writing that particular character. I was impressed and a little down trodden because I didn’t have any playlists for my characters. Why was I not as cool as Erin Dutton? Not only that, but sometimes it’s hard for me to write with any music playing at all. But upon further reflection, it occurred to me to pick myself up off the hard wood floor because a) it’s dirty and b) my writing was influenced by music, and I didn’t even know it. Helplessly, Hopelesslyby Jessica Andrews has always made me think of Emory and Sarah from Heart Block. The song just seems to fit. Oftenthroughout the period I was writing them,it got my mind working on their upcoming plot points whenever it would come up on my iPod. I can’t hear it to this day without stopping and thinking of them. And I can easily say that I have a song like this for each book I’ve worked on, including my current project. These songs are special to me. They’re sources of inspiration and get my creative juices flowing in the right direction.

Melissa Brayden

I glance at the clock now and notice that it’s time to start thinking about what I’ll make for dinner.  I’m thinking That’s Amore by Dean Martin is just the ticket to accompany my efforts. You know…and maybe a glass of Chardonnay.

So as you embark on the week ahead, everyone, hum a little tune to yourselves to keep things lively. After all, music makes the world go ‘round.


  1. I can totally understand the music thing! I can’t figure out what to put in my playlists so I just set my ipod to random and let it pick from the 14K+ songs I have. And damned if it doesn’t catch my mood and play to it!
    The book sounds like fun, looking forward to reading it!


  2. As much as I enjoyed your first book, I am so looking forward to Heart Block.
    Music does make a huge difference in how we feel and certainly can change a person’s mood.


  3. So love your writing in Waiting in the With gs and would have already purchased the new one had the engine in my truck not blown the head gasket. So, I put it on my Christmas list but how awesome would it be to win it before then! Please count me in for the drawing.


  4. Okay….as a DJ on the side all songs mean something in my world. If you are down in the dumps and just can’t seem to kick it….listen to Rainbow Connection by Kermit and you will feel much better. Can’t wait to read the book…it is on my list next….I have to finish up a book by some author we all love and cherish, who happens to be a lawyer…hmmm, who could that be? Take care Melissa and keep the words coming….oh and yes I want to be included in the drawing please.


  5. What a coincidence, I too have nada rhythm and I hate to run. I do enjoy a good blog post about music though and this one satisfied my need to read everything you write.


  6. I do believe everyone loves music, although I’m sure, like me, they do have preferences at certain times and events. And running as never my thing although in my younger years I did play softball. I would certainly appreciate being in your drawing. I am in need of reading material. Thanks for the lovely interview Melissa. Nice to know what drives writers.


  7. That was a breakthrough thought on running. I like to have ran but hate to run!! I always run to mellow music though- Jack Johnson, Nora Jones, sometimes Melissa Ferrick, etc just to keep the pace slow and steady. I’m curious to find out what the theme song for your current project is…


  8. Hi, Melissa! It’s funny because just before reading this post, I was upstairs in my bedroom, door closed, iPod on full blast, getting my groove on. It’s a great way to get exercise and get frustrations out. Although, my iPod needs serious updating, musically speaking. I look forward to reading your book.


  9. I loved Heart Block, a beautifully written romance. Can,t wait to read it again. I’d love to win this book


  10. OMG you have so throughly described me!! Love to dance questionable rhythm, while my girlfriend knows every dance ever danced…Running you nailed it I love having ran and hate running are you sure we are not Well I have yet to read your works as my GF just turned me on to Radcyliff but after reading your blog my next book will be Waiting in the Wings to definately be followed by Heart Block can’t wait!!


  11. You know, I have a hard time writing with music on. I know so many authors who do it, but I feel like it’s distracting. I wonder if I should give it another honest shot and see if I can do more than hum and tap my feet…


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